An ordinance to amend Title 11 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws regarding federal civil immigration laws.

WHEREAS, more than 80,000 residents of Nashville are foreign-born; and

WHEREAS, immigrants are deeply rooted in the Nashville community, raising children, owning homes, and starting businesses here; and

WHEREAS, Nashville has a proud history of welcoming immigrants and refugees and has long recognized the benefits of making it easier for all residents to participate, contribute, and access key services and opportunities, as seen through the rejection of the English Only referendum and the development of innovative programs and offices, such as the Mayor’s Office of New Americans, MyCity Academy, and Parent Ambassadors; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council is responsible for allocating the city’s limited resources, delivering public services, creating opportunities and quality of life for all residents, promoting public safety, and protecting due process for all residents; and

WHEREAS, the cooperation of immigrant residents, and trust between communities and public agencies, is critical to fulfilling the mission and duties of the city; and trust between the immigrant community and local law enforcement is critical to promoting public safety for our entire city; and

WHEREAS, the city has limited resources, immigration law is complex, and enforcing federal immigration law is the exclusive authority of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, participation in voluntary immigrant enforcement programs or expanded collaboration with immigration enforcement agencies is largely unfunded, undermines public safety, and puts the city at risk of constitutional liability; and

WHEREAS, at least 635 jurisdictions, from New Orleans, LA, to Clarkston, GA, have placed reasonable limits on their voluntary participation in federal immigration enforcement activities.


Section 1. That Title 11 of the Metropolitan Code be amended by adding Chapter 11.34 as follows:

Chapter 11.34 – Compliance with Federal Immigration Laws

Section 11.34.010 – Intent.

It is the intent of this chapter to facilitate compliance with federal immigration laws within the limited resources of local government.

Section 11.34.020 – Use of City Funds, Resources or Facilities Prohibited.

A department, board, commission, officer, or employee of the metropolitan government of Nashville and Davidson County shall not (A) use any funds, resources, or facilities of the metropolitan government to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws unless such assistance is required by federal or state law or by a court order; or (B) expend their time or use any resources responding to inquiries from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding a person’s custody status, release date, or scheduled appearance date for court or probation proceedings unless such assistance is required by federal or state law or by a court order.

Section 11.34.030 – Inquiries into Immigration Status.

A. A department, board, commission, officer, or employee of the metropolitan government of Nashville and Davidson County, including law enforcement officers, shall not request information about or otherwise assist in the investigation of the citizenship or immigration status of any person, unless otherwise required by federal or state law or by court order.

B. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this chapter, the metropolitan government shall abide by any duty or obligation imposed by federal or applicable law, and shall respond promptly and as required by applicable law to any warrant issued pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The metropolitan government shall only honor an immigration-related detention request if it is accompanied by a warrant issued pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Section 11.34.040 – Savings Clause.

If any section or provision of this chapter is in conflict or inconsistent with applicable provisions of state or federal law, or otherwise held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction, such section or provision shall be suspended and superseded by such applicable laws, and the remainder of this chapter shall not be affected thereby.

Section 2. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Bob Mendes, Colby Sledge, Fabian Bedne, Mina Johnson, Erica Gilmore, Jim Shulman, Freddie O'Connell, Brett Withers, Nancy VanReece, Burkley Allen, Anthony Davis, Michael Freeman, Scott Davis, Bill Pridemore


Introduced: June 6, 2017
Passed First Reading: June 6, 2017
Referred to: Public Safety, Beer, and Regulated Beverages Committee
Passed Second Reading: June 20, 2017 - Roll Call Vote
Withdrawn: July 6, 2017

Requests for ADA accommodation should be directed to the Metropolitan Clerk at 615/862-6770.